In the chilly morning downpour Sunday, the Yale women’s rugby team gave their small but dedicated group of fans something to cheer about.
The Elis (0-4-2) came from a 10-0 early second half deficit to force a tie with Boston University (0-3-1) 10-10 at the Yale fields. The Elis’ only other tie has come against the University of Delaware in the Beantown Tournament, but this battle on the pitch proved to be the more riveting of the two contests.
The Bulldogs, plagued by injuries throughout what has proved a long season for the team, were severely shorthanded Saturday. Ali Oliva ’05, Phillippa Thomson ’06 and Catherine Izard ’06 did not play because of injuries. Kate Casselman ’05 and Lisa Rothman ’04 missed the game because they were running in a marathon in Chicago.
To make things worse, the strong winds and rain created extremely difficult playing conditions.
Yale failed to score in the first half, unable to convert on a number of long drives. John Broker, the Bulldogs’ head coach, was nonetheless proud of the defensive effort in the first half.
“I think we came out strong on defense from the beginning,” Broker said. “It wasn’t until the second half that we really showed how much heart we have as a team, though.”
Trailing 7-0 at halftime, the Elis fell behind even further following an early second-half penalty goal that pushed the Terriers’ lead to 10-0. But almost immediately after that play, the Yale offense finally clicked in, managing to convert a try to narrow the margin to 10-5.
That score held throughout much of the rest of the game, with neither team able to mount a significant drive. But that all changed when, with about 10 seconds remaining, the Elis managed to push through the Terrier defense for a final try to tie the game at 10-10. The referee blew the final whistle soon after, cementing the Elis’ impressive comeback.
After the game, the Yale players were proud of how the team stuck together despite trailing for the majority of the game.
“I was really impressed by the composure of our rookies, particularly in the second half,” team captain Amy Kohout ’04 said. “We could have folded after falling behind 10-0, but that’s not what we’re about as a team. I think it just shows how much passion all these girls have for the game.”
The rookies returned the compliment, saying the older players led them well throughout the match.
“I learned a lot today, particularly when watching our two captains,” Margaret Fox ’05 said.
In their only home game of the season, the Elis drew a small but enthusiastic crowd despite the foul weather. Many of the fans were parents of the athletes, some witnessing the game for the first time.
“After seeing them out there today, I don’t think I could compete with them,” the father of Amanda Webb ’06 said. “They’re a tough group of girls.”
But not all parents shared Webb’s excitement. One distraught mother found the physical play unsettling.
“My God, this sport should be outlawed,” she said.
Yale hopes to carry the momentum from Sunday’s second-half comeback into its final game of the season at Radcliffe in Cambridge, Mass., on Oct. 28.